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Posts Tagged ‘angry young people’

Young Zealanders – Rebels WITH a cause.

20 August 2014 3 comments

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Kim dotcom twitter

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Good message. (Especially the last bit.)

The response from the likes of John Key, Matthew Hooton, Claire Robinson, David Farrar, Duncan Garner, Patrick Gower, that psychopath, Cameron Slater, certain Labour MPs,  et al,  illustrates very clearly that the Establishment Political/Media complex is not reacting to the swelling success of the Mana-Internet Movement very well. The rise of Mana-Internet is a direct challenge to orthodox, established political and media groups, not seen since the 1960s and 1970s.

In those two decades, the stressors which caused upheaval in our society, from the the youth, was sparked by a horrendous war in Vietnam.

The stressors these days are economic, social, and alienation.

But far from being long-haired hippies who are “tuning in, turning on, and dropping out” – the rebellion that is beginning to burst to the surface of  society is more like “tuning in, turning on, and going online“. The young have a focal point for their dissatisfaction, and they have seized the day.

Make no mistake – National’s (and some Labour) careerist politicians; their tax-payer funded party strategists (hullo Jason Ede!); and fellow travellers in the media (hullo John Armstrong!) and blogosphere are staining their y-fronts and panties;

Greg Boyed ‏- Broadcaster

“Watching Laila Harre making excuses and explain away Dotcom’s antics looks more and more like Joan Baez fronting Kraftwerk #dotcom”

Clayton CosgroveLabour MP

“…that New Zealand’s Prime Minister of any political persuasion should not be told to F off.

Political leaders who incite that, namely Dotcom, and political leaders who condone that, namely Laila Harre, have no place in our politics.”

David CunliffeLabour Leader

“I think it’s unacceptable. There’s no place for that in New Zealand politics.”

Kelvin DavisLabour MP

“Sorta ironic that in 1914 Mata Hari was a German agent, and in 2014 there’s Laila. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mata_Hari”

Guyon EspinerRadio NZ Morning Report co-Host

“…you’ve put it out as an advertisement for your party. So it isn’t just a rock concert at that point is it? It’s an ad for the Mana Party and for the Internet-Mana Party and it is a rant of swear words and offence against the leader of another party.”

“What? Yelling at the Prime Minister?”

“But isn’t that rather patronising to say that young people’s expression of politics is to swear at the Prime Minister? I mean isn’t that rather patronising?”

“No, no, I don’t need to ask that question at all. I’ll decide the questions to ask!”

“YOU guys have to take responsibility for this because YOU put it out as an advertisement for YOUR party.”

“So that’s what you want to encourage young people to do? To express themselves in politics in this way, by swearing at the Prime Minister?”

“And encouraged by Kim Dotcom, holding a mask of a cartoon of the Prime Minister, while a whole crowd chanted ‘Ef John Key”, and  you think that that’s a good thing? That’s, that’s, just  [a] nice youth expression of political views  is it?”

“Can we expect to see more of this from the Internet Mana Party?”

Duncan GarnerRadioLive

“This Internet-Mana party alliance is a sham and a rort, but MMP allows for it – which is the worst bit.

I’ve seen nothing like it in the history of NZ politics. It is far less transparent than the dodgy electorate seat deals National has done over the years. New Zealanders have every right to be outraged.

[…]

It now includes pulling out his cheque-book and paying for a political party and buying people off – so he can keep his sorry backside out of the clink.

It’s as simple as that: he’s paying big money so he doesn’t turn into some sort of dribbling mess behind bars – some reports suggest he’s pumped $4m into setting up this party. So how much is he paying his people?

I asked new leader Laila Harré yesterday, she said she wasn’t sure yet. But money between the two will change hands at some stage, she’s clear on that.

She will be paid for this role. Is this the New Zealand way? I would argue no way. It’s grubby isn’t it? You only get paid once you get elected don’t you?”

Duncan GarnerRadioLive

“So, the Prime Minister said you’re backed by a sugar daddy – Kim Dotcom. So what? Many people will actually agree with him. It’s not really wrong. Is it?

To take offence is to be far too thin-skinned. Harden up, shake it off, but – best of all – just ignore it.

The truth is the Mana-Internet Party is backed by a German billionaire on the run from the authorities. It is what it is: he’s paying you and he’s paying for the party to exist. If he goes, the party goes.”

Phil GoffLabour MP

“I am also opposed to anyone buying a political party and buying influence by splashing out $3 million as Dotcom proposes. National allowed him to buy permanent residence in New Zealand. Now he thinks he can buy the political system.

Appointing Laila Harré is a good disguise for why he is putting the money in but most people will see that. As the old saying goes ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’. Our political system ought not be allowed to become the plaything of the very rich. A good reason why state funding of political parties ought to be considered.”

Patrick GowerTV3

“Hone & Dotcom’s grubby deal. Hone, Kim & Laila wrecking MMP/diminishing mana of Maori seats- it is a disgrace.”

Patrick GowerTV3

“Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP 3news.co.nz/Opinion-Hone-a Same goes for your pals Hone, Dotcom, Minto and Sykes.”

Chris HipkinsLabour MP

“Will the small parties promising to splash around taxpayer cash be held to account the same as the two big parties? Won’t hold my breath..”

Chris HipkinsLabour MP

“Getting a bunch of people drunk and getting them to chant abuse isn’t political leadership. It’s thuggery and megalomania intertwined.”

Matthew HootonRight wing Commentator

“Feels a bit like a Munich Beer Hall in the 1920s?”

Shackleford HurtmoreTwitter

“It was the Internet Party. They were actually chanting “FAQ John Key”.”

John KeyPrime Minister (Acting)

“I think New Zealanders will call it themselves. They’ll make their own decision about whether they want someone in the political system that does this sort of stuff.

I think the students are just part of a pawn about what this guy’s doing. But I just think New Zealanders will just sort of say that’s not the way we do politics in New Zealand, it may be the way that Kim Dotcom wants to do things.”

Stuart NashLabour MP

“@chrishipkins v dangerous when megalomania meets disaffected. Totally irresponsible behaviour & no place for it in NZ politics – or society”

Claire Robinson – ‘Political marketing specialist

“Laila Harre was expressing such indignation about John Key’s ‘sugar-daddy’ comment and the need for respect in the political debate, and at the same time you have Kim Dotcom posting a video inciting hate speech, in effect, among a crowd of young people.

It is sinking to such a low, and completely at odds with what she’s trying to do, exposing yet again the enormous disconnect between Kim Dotcom’s hatred for John Key and the way that she wants to campaign.

You could not imagine her standing up there and getting people to say ‘f**k John Key. That is not what she’s about.”

Tracey Watkins – Dominion Post,

“Recent displays of crowds chanting “f… John Key” and his effigy being burnt could either be put down to youthful hijinks or something more sinister. “

Conclusion…

In  2011, around a million New Zealanders did not vote because they saw no reason to. Especially young people. They saw nothing (or very little) in any of the established  political parties that was of direct interest to them.

What they did see, generally, was a bunch of older generation New Zealanders – their parent’s generation – fighting over what resources we have left; screwing up the environment; not listening; and mostly making everything (eg, housing, university education, medicine, etc) as diabolically expensive as they could get away with.

Now they have a reason. They are pissed off. And they will vent their anger irrespective of quasi-parental admonishments from media commentators and political “scientists”.

In fact, Mr Key, Mr Davis, Mr Garner, Mr Cosgrove, Mr Armstrong, Mr Gower, Mr Farrar, Mr Goff,  Mr Hipkins, Mr Espiner, Ms Robinson, Mr Nash, Ms Watkins, et al, if you stand in their way, you can expect to be told to fuck off in no uncertain terms as well.

Isn’t it interesting that when the rich and powerful bankroll right-wing parties into power, the media and commentariat barely blink. For them, it’s business as usual. It is the Establishment asserting it’s primacy and ensuring that the status quo (with minor fiddling around the edges) is maintained.

But as the NZ Herald’s own right wing commentators, John Armstrong, cleverly pointed out,

“For once, such a cheque was being written for a party on the left rather than one from the right…

[…]

… When was the last time a party of the left had that kind of money to throw around in an election? “

That is what angers National and right wing commentators – that we now have a level-playing ground.

As for the so-called “Left” – in this case, Labour – well, they are also justifiably mightily angry because,

  1. Dotcom didn’t send the cheque their way, as did Glenn Owen who donated $500,000 to the Labour Party prior to the 2005 election,
  2. The “missing million” – especially the young ones – have found their voice, but are not using it for the traditional institutions on the Left or the Right. Labour and National have largely been left behind; made irrelevent to young people by the older generation’s own actions.

Well, we wanted young New Zealanders to engage.

I believe that is precisely what they are doing.

Engaging.

On their terms.

All the bluster; all the self-righteous anger; all the finger-wagging at ‘bad’ language; all the sanctimonious, pontificating on “proper behaviour” by politicians, media commentators, right wing bloggers, political ‘scientists’, et al – doesn’t that just go down ‘so well’ with young people who are in a rebellious mood?

Really folks, the more you rail against the young, the more you will sound like your own parents.

Remember?

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References

Twitter: Kim Dotcom

Twitter: Greg Boyed

TVNZ News: NZ politics gets dirty in lead up to election

TV3 News: Dotcom labelled a ‘thug’ by Labour MP

Twitter: Kelvin Davis

Radio NZ: Guyon Espiner (interviewing Laila Harré)

RadioLive: Duncan Garner: Party for sale – Internet-Mana is a sham and a rort

RadioLive: Duncan Garner: Harden up Laila Harré!

Facebook: Phil Goff

Twitter: Patrick Gower

Twitter: Patrick Gower

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twityter: Matthew Hooton

TVNZ News:  Internet-Mana denies involvement in PM burning effigy video

Twitter: Stuart Nash

NZ Herald: Internet Mana ‘sinking to such a low’

Dominion Post: New lows hit from the outset

Otago Daily Times: Naked pragmatism behind Mana’s alliance with Dotcom

NZ Herald: New Year award for Labour’s big donor

Other references

Fairfax media: Internet Mana anger over Key effigy claims

Other blogs

Gordon Campbell:  Gordon Campbell on Internet Mana’s swearing video

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Harre -Harawira

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 August 2014

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Unfortunate Outrage?

9 November 2011 13 comments

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It seems that practically any criticism of our Dear Leader, these days, elicits a critical response from certain quarters. Robyn Malcolm’s remarks at the opening of the Greens’ campaign have been described by the NZ Herald, as “vitriolic”,

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Full Story

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The NZ Herald article carries on with similar comments,

But fronting the campaign opening in Wellington, Malcolm savaged Mr Key’s performance.” – Ibid

Robyn Malcolm’s comments consisted of the following,

“”We have a leader who seems to be more interested in talking about his cats on the radio, being seen at the rugby and getting on the cover of the Woman’s Weekly. I thought that was my job…”

“We ended up voting in a Government who’ve revealed their total lack of interest in leading us into the 21st century with any innovation, courage, or social integrity, despite what a nice guy he [Mr Key] seems to be…”

“An unshakeable and abiding love of fossil fuels … and an inability to follow through on promises of any kind, but will make anything up for a Hollywood mogul should they happen to come down this way…” ” – Ibid

Ms Malcolm’s comments are critical, certainly. Hard-hitting, probably.

But “vitriolic“? And “savaging“?

These are subjective interpretations – opinion – not impartial reporting. To some people, Ms Malcolm’s remarks would be harsh. To others, they would be fair comment. The determination of how we,   the public, might feel about her statements should be left up to us to determine – not prompted by a media report.

Gordon McLauchlan, on Jim Mora’s Radio NZ afternoon panel, made precisely the same pertinent observations and criticised  the Herald’s slanted reporting of this event.

One wonders how it came to pass in this country, that an ordinary citizen can be vilified in such a manner by the press, for daring to criticise our elected representatives. This sort of thing was more common in my parents’ country-of-birth, prior to the collapse of the Soviet empire.

As an aside; I heard most of Ms Malcolm’s speech on the radio.  I was driving at the time, so wasn’t paying much attention. What I can recall is that she was certainly critical of John Key and his love-affair with photo-opportunities – but certainly did not sound anywhere near “vitiriolic”. Quite the opposite, I considered her words and tone to be quite measured and reasonable.

If anyone has been “savaged” – it is Robyn Malcolm by the unreasonable editorialising in the Herald’s article. The tone and wording of that article is truly, vitriolic.

What is just as bad, is the outrageous hypocrisy shown by Auckland City Councillor, Cameron Brewer, who joined in the hysterical condemnation of Ms Malcolm. Brewer was reported in the same newspaper (NZ Herald) as saying,

Given Robyn Malcolm is clearly so anti the Government and the Prime Minister, she is far too partisan to front this all-important public consultation and plan . Her personal politics will really colour this council and the plan itself. It is just not appropriate in local government to employ someone whose politics are so pointed to be fronting a public consultation campaign.” Source

Brewer has demanded that Ms Malcolm be replaced because of her perceived partisanship, saying,

The mayor now needs to urgently reconsider whether she is the best ambassador to launch the plan.” – Ibid

Is this the same Cameron Brewer who recently considered seeking the  candidacy for the National Party in the Tamaki electorate?

Why yes, I believe it is.

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Source

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So, let’s be quite clear about what Cameron Brewer is saying;

  • Voicing comments that are anti-government and  critical of John Key makes it  “inappropriate” for Robyn Malcolm to be connected with an Auckland City Council project because she could be seen as “partisan”,  is not acceptable.
  • Supporting the current government and intending to stand as one of their candidates, whilst being a member of the same Auckland City Council, is not partisan and  is acceptable.

My parents came from an Eastern European country that, prior to 1989, had been ruled by the local Communist Party. The power and influence of the Party reached into all areas of public life.

For example, if, as a teenager, you wanted to go to University then you had to be a member of the youth wing of the Party, the “Young Communists”. If you wanted a good job, you had to be a full member, in good standing, of the Communist Party.

I think we know where I’m coming from on this issue.

In essence, for Brewer to accept Robyn Malcolm as the representative of Auckland’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, she must be a card-carrying, Key-cuddling, member of the National Party.

Thank you, Comrade Brewer, for showing us how little you value political diversity of opinion.

Will you be following up with a One-Party state and Gulag prisons for dissidents such as Ms Malcolm?

And me next, I suppose?

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London Burning. Where next?

10 August 2011 2 comments

The question that many are asking is “why?”.

Ms Penny’s opinion piece is the clearest attempt at understanding why these riots happened (and are still happening, as I write this) in a supposedly peaceful, civilised society.

I would add a further point: it is no coincidence that these riots are happening at a time when the “Arab Spring” has unleashed a human wave of rebellion in middle eastern countries ruled by authoritarian regimes. The common element is a deep disaffection with the status quo. Ms Penny explains it all in a simple, coherent, meaningful way…

I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn.

The BBC is showing footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of infernos that once were shops and houses in Croydon and Peckham.

There have been hundreds of arrests and dozens of serious injuries. A 26-year-old man shot in a car in Croydon is reportedly the first fatality, but police have not said whether he had been participating in the rioting or was a bystander.

This is the third consecutive night of rioting in London, and the disorder has now spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who only hours ago were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain’s cities to go home. Britain is a tinderbox and, on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

In the scramble to comprehend the riots, every commentator has opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called the disorder ”mindless, mindless”.

Speaking from his Tuscan holiday villa, the Prime Minister, David Cameron – who has finally decided to return home to take charge – declared simply that the social unrest searing through the poorest boroughs in the country was ”utterly unacceptable”. The violence on the streets is being dismissed as ”pure criminality”, as the work of a ”violent minority”, as ”opportunism”. This is madly insufficient.

Angry young people with nothing to do and little to lose are turning on their communities, and they cannot be stopped, and they know it. Tonight, in one of the greatest cities in the world, society is ripping itself apart.

Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there.

A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost 10 times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

The truth is that few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the TV cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985.

Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping and searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure knowledge that after decades of being marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news.

In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything.

”Yes,” said the young man. ”You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you? Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night.

No one expected this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after 30 years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong.

And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

After reading Laurie Penny’s analysis in the Sydney Morning Herald – perhaps we should be asking, “where next“?

Because the disaffection, anger, and resentment shown by the young folk of Britain exists in other countries as well. Governments seem to have forgotten that nations are first and foremost societies – communities of people. Economies are built on societies, not the other way around.

Something to reflect on here in  supposedly peaceful, civilised New Zealand.

What really angers me is  that Baby boomers and neo-liberals castigate the young for their irresponsibility and selfishness.

Pardon?!

Is this the same Baby Boomer Neo-Lib generation that enjoyed free tertiary education, free medical prescriptions,  etc, etc – paid for by our parents and grandparents?

And when it came time for Baby Boomers to pass these same social services onto our children, we held up our hands and said, “Nah. You kids pay for what you want.” And then we introduced User Pays and gave ourselves hefty tax cuts, whilst privatising many of those state assets that used to provide us with good services.

And we expect the younger generation not to be selfish?!?!

Maybe I’m turning into a Grumpy Old Bugger, but I say “a pox on my generation” – my sympthathies are with the younger people who were well and truly shafted by my lot.

As for the neo-liberals and middle classes;  you  got what you wanted; a society of individuals out to get what they wanted; screw society; and devil take the hindmost.

And it was all utterly predictable, 20, 30 years ago.

We have seen the warning signs.